A fair sized crowd enjoyed good weather and some exciting racing at the South Wold Point- to -Point at Brocklesby Park on Saturday. The going was officially described as "good".
Johnny Bailey rode a double starting with Judy Wilson's Coolefind in the D & M Barthorpe Men's Open race. This game thirteen year old held off the attentions of Finney, who challenged at the last, to win by two lengths. Winning trainer Stuart Morris said that the better ground and the flat track had really suited the horse.
In the following race Bailey teamed up with Galway Jack trained by his father Gerald for Margaret Moody. Bailey senior was not present having gone to saddle runners at Uttoxter. However, Johnny was clearly impressed with Galway Jack who beat Dark Moon by four lengths. "He's a proper horse" he said on dismounting from Galway Jack who won in the fastest time of the day. These two winners put Bailey in the lead for the D & M Barthorpe Leading Gentleman Rider Championship in the Midlands Area.
Another Grand provided a local success at the South Wold Point-to-Point on Saturday. The win came in the Richard Sanderson (on course bookmaker) Open Maiden race; a race that was divided on the day due to the high number of horses declared to run. Another Grand's previous outing at Brocklesby Park ended when he was carried out by a loose horse. However, on this occasion there was no such bad luck and the four year old ridden by Matt Stanley was prominent throughout the race, led two fences from home and went on to win decisively by three lengths. Twenty year old Matt Stanley was enjoying his first winner and was returning following a spell on the side-lines with a broken collar bone. Another Grand was acquired by trainer Oliver Williams out of Ruth Carr's yard; he jumped well and relished the going. Danny Ablott received the Lincolnshire Motors Perpetual Challenge Cup on behalf of The Folk From The Shire winning partnership as this was the faster division of the race.
There was a case of deja-vu in division two of the Maiden race since the winner Oojar was first past the post last year but later disqualified for testing positive for a banned substance. Jockey Guy Brewer had Oojar at the head of affairs disputing the lead for much of the race and beat the four year old debutant Rendl Beach by three lengths. Guy Brewer said he was delighted for the owners who have worked so hard to get the horse ready. Owner Reg Makin was ready with a compliment for Brewer; "That was a better ride than Waley Cohen gave his horse in the Gold Cup but unfortunately Guy doesn't win as much money!" he joked.
Jockey Matt Stanley looked like he might ride a double on Harlaxton in the Midlands Area Club Members Race for Novice Riders sponsored by Melton Mowbray Market. This time riding for his employer Antonia Bealby, Stanley had Harlaxton well placed but he could not match the strong winning run from Teeton Dazzler and Lizzie Harris who were winning for the second time this season. Jenny Garley trains Teeton Dazzler for his breeder Joan Tice. The favourite in this race was Christy Beamish who finished third but reportedly broke a blood vessel.
Gemma Hutchinson, currently the leading lady rider in the Midlands Area, added to her tally in the Gleadell Agriculture Confined Hunts race winning on Wild As The Wind. This horse is owned by her Mother Susan and trained by her father Patrick. Wild As The Wind tracked the leaders and made up ground after the ditch on the second circuit to beat Trust Fund and Toby Greenall by five lengths. Gemma, who marries Tim Lane in the summer, is hoping to ride as many winners as possible this season. When she moves to the Oak Grove Stud in Monmouthshire to live with Tim she will be too far away to continue riding.
Gemma Hutchinson was fancied to follow up with course winner Mendo in the AGA Ladies Open race but was unfortunately unseated. Four horses went to post but it was just the diminutive Eliza Doalott who came home alone under Freya Brewer. "Everybody else fell off!" she joked afterwards. The mare was bought cheaply at Fairyhouse sales as a three year old by owner/trainer Maxine Stirk . "She didn't want to go into the ring so nobody wanted her." she said. A career at stud may be on the cards for Eliza Doalott at the end of the season and a visit to Supreme Sound has been pencilled in.
The day ended with a popular win for South Wold chairman Mark Barthorpe with Alflora Dora in the Restricted race sponsored by Foster and Grant. "We're always excited to have a winner" said a delighted Barthorpe. The mare was ridden by Gina Andrews who is Pat Barthorpe's god-daughter. Gina's father Simon rode the Barthorpe's best horse Golden Casino in the late 1980's and the Golden Casino Memorial Perpetual Challenge Trophy had earlier been presented to Judy Wilson owner of Coolefind. The Jane Kent trained Ivan's Back ran well to finish second, beaten by three lengths.
Following the two meetings at Brocklesby Park there were three riders with two winners each; Gemma Hutchinson, Johnny Bailey and Tom Ellis. However, Tom Ellis also had a third placing on Point Proven in the Men's Open race. Lilian Pickering presented The Lilian Pickering Perpetual Challenge Trophy to Tom Ellis as the leading rider at Brocklesby Park in 2011. Tom is in top form at the moment having won a Hunter Chase on Enigma Variations at Fakenham on Friday.
The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Belvoir Point- to- Point at Garthorpe on Saturday 26th March, first race 1.30pm.